# Morgellons on Joe Rogan Questions Everything

Discussion in 'Health and Quackery' started by Mick West, Aug 15, 2013.

Episode 4 of Joe Rogan Questions Everything was on the "Biopocalypse" - the (not entirely unreasonable) idea that there might be some major biological catastrophe in the near future, either from a natural pandemic like airborne ebola or bird flu, or a terrorist attack, or from something that escapes from a lab, like weaponized smallpox.

The last segment of the show was on "Morgellons", which is a list of symptoms that some people are suggesting is actually a distinct disease characterized by finding unusual fibers on the skin. The CDC did a study a couple of years ago, and concluded there was nothing to indicate a distinct condition.

The most significant part of the segment consisted of Joe taking some samples that a woman had sent him, and having them examined at a lab. They basically found four things:
1. Flakes of skin (which were not really mentioned, but consisted the bulk of the samples)
2. Fibers, of various types
3. A hexagon with some coloring
4. Diatomaceous earth
The problem with this segment was that these things were presented as somewhat mysterious when they all have very straightforward explanations, especially if you are familiar with Morgellons.

1. Flakes of skin

While not really talked about, these flakes of skin were featured quite prominently on-screen several times. They are essentially just dead skin, dried up, some soaked with blood and sebum (the clear ooze around a wound), and scraped off. You can clearly see the source of these skin flakes in the preceding clip

Also in the above image, notice the very fine hair on the back of her finger, right in the center of the image. That's a vellus hair, these are tiny thin translucent hairs that people have all over their bodies, but are quite hard to see with the naked eye.

2. Fibers.

Not much attention was given to the fibers. Some were said to be "not like hair", although the technician seemed to be describing regular ("terminal") hair, and not the smoother vellus hair. However they totally failed to discuss the most likely source of fibers: dust and clothing. Fibers are literally everywhere around you right now. Every square inch of your body will have some tiny fibers on it, mostly invisible to the naked eye. But get a clean piece of adhesive tape or a PostIt pad, and dab it a few times on the back of your arm, or your face, and you'll find a bunch of tiny fibers - though you might need some magnification to see them.

When someone is constantly picking at their skin with a needle, fibers get stuck in the damp healing region, and you'll find all different types: cotton, paper, nylon, wool, hair. It is expected that you would find these fibers. It does not indicate anything.

Here's a photo gallery of microscopic photos of ordinary fibers found on the body and around the house.

3. Hexagon.

These hexagons come up a lot in the Morgellons community, they refer to them as "glitter", because they are shiny.

But that's actually what they are. Glitter. Specifically they are hexagonally cut glitter. Most glitter is made from very thin sheets of plastic coated with a colored reflective coating, and cut into tiny hexagon. What you see above is a piece of glitter with the coloring flaking off.

Here's a close up of some hexagonal cut glitter.

Glitter is used in crafts, found on greeting cards, artwork, and novelty items, and it is used in makeup. The individual flakes are very small, and it's easy to get them on your skin.

4. Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth is basically a fine white powder that is very absorbent, as it's made from a type of soft sedimentary rock that consists of the fossilized remains of a type of hard shelled algae called diatoms. It's used as an abrasive, a desiccant, and in agriculture, and has many other uses. It looks really interesting under a microscope, as there are lots of different types of the algae skeletons.

It's also used by people with Morgellons as a home remedy, it's one of the most popular.

So the reason that they found Diatomaceous earth on the skin of someone with Morgellons is because she put it there. That is human skin, just human skin with diatomaceous earth on it.

Joe ends the segment saying he thinks Morgellons is a real disease. That's rather disappointing, as while the physical sensations and mental suffering are real, there's no scientific indication that there's a distinct condition that causes all these symptoms. There are lots of different existing conditions that explain the different individual cases far better. And the fibers are almost certainly a combination of hair and environmental fibers. Promoting the idea that Morgellons is distinct disease means that people who think they have it will avoid treatments for their other conditions.

But the primary problem with this segment is that it presented the microscopic evidence as showing something of significance, when it actually showed nothing at all unexpected.

Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
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2. ### Josh HeuerActive Member

Makes you wonder why Joe Rogan has a show and you don't...I think your show would be a lot more informative.

Joe is actually pretty good I think, he does know a lot about the topics, and he handles the interviews fairly well. He also has a very entertaining and engaging screen presence, plus a large fan base.

Still they should have consulted with me on that bit

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4. ### SoulflyBannedBanned

He doesn't have a cool secret agent sounding name like Mick West though.

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5. ### Dan WilsonActive Member

Great post, and fascinating topic for an episode. I actually have a couple pictures of fibers I've found while growing bacteria cultures, finding them is very normal. They easily fall into samples after floating around in the air. Some you can even see without a microscope. Most Morgellons fibers have been identified as cotton and other common debris. I suspect the identity of all Morgellons fibers would be mundane if every sample were investigated.

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Here's a video of me tearing a sheet of paper into pieces (first half of video), the dust that arises from it is entirely made of tiny little fibers:

Torn paper close up looks like:

People don't see these fibers generally, but look at anything close enough any you'll find them.

Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
7. ### Josh HeuerActive Member

You know, you should have hinted to Joe Rogan that if he's going to air a segment, he should start a thread here first to gather facts

I did give the producers some pointers for the Morgellons stuff, but it's a large topic.

9. ### EpsilonVonVehronNew Member

Hi gents,
I saw the CDC report a while ago and unfortunately it does fail to identify a specific cause beyond normal fibers, short of suggesting a psychosomatic issue.
http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0029908
It seems that some medical professionals are have since questioned these findings and are suggesting perhaps a bacterial spirochete infestation.
http://www.thecehf.org/morgellons-disease-research.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirochaete
So I guess the jury is still out on this, more research is being done. I do think we can rule out a chemtrail borne nano particle infestation though.

Randy Wymore isn't really "some medical professionals". He's an assistant professor of Pharmacology & Physiology who has been tinkering with Morgellons for a very long time and produced nothing. That page is basically the same people who invented Morgellons in the first place, back at the MRF.

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11. ### EpsilonVonVehronNew Member

Thanks Mick. What about this University investigation into a possible spirochete link to morgellons, here...http://www.newhaven.edu/586934.pdf. It mentions the presence of fibers below unbroken skin.
I'm quite aware that there are more paranoid people who might be quick to blame some random fibers and scabs on morgellons but let's not be too quick to write off a medical explanation.

12. ### David FraserSenior Member

That looks like a uni poster presentation. Have you got anything that states samples have been taken from unbroken skin but to be fair I have no idea what they mean by unbroken.

The CDC investigation was very comprehensive.

There's a very small number of medical people who are interested in the subject. A very, very, small number. After ten years of looking at it they don't even have a meaningful case definition, let alone any evidence that it is a distinct condition.

14. ### Dan WilsonActive Member

I'd also ask for more than that. The poster seems to only describe one sample, and they acknowledge that more samples should be tested. It would also be nice to see what the skin sample and where it was taken from looked like. Finding evidence of spirochete bacteria can mean a number of things, including the possibility of the patient causing the infection by picking or scratching. So finding bacteria doesn't necessarily mean they are discovering a new disease, more likely just an infected wound of a patient who already had lyme disease. Most Morgellons patients do who hallmarks of lyme disease, by the way.
The references were interesting but leave us with the same conclusion. Here is one.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3544355/
They talk a lot about the fibers found in these samples and link them the activity of keratinocytes, which will divide to participate in wound healing and some disorders like hyperkeratosis can result in the overactivity of these cells. Then they also find evidence of spirochete bacteria in the wounds, but can make no further conclusions.

In the future, if people are going to demonstrate Morgellons disease as having its own unique pathology caused by certain bacteria, they need to demonstrate pathogenicity. This means taking an infected sample and successfully transferring the disease to a previously healthy test subject, or even treating the ailments with antibiotics. Until then, it just doesn't seem like a good case for an entirely new disease.

15. ### Dan WilsonActive Member

For more, this paper is pretty comprehensive and includes IR specs of the fibers.

http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0029908

17. ### Dan WilsonActive Member

Sorry for the redundancy, I just thought the IR specs were pretty telling.

No, it's a great link, I just wanted to point out it was the CDC study, and not just some random pseudo-study. The CDC study was very comprehensive, and really should have put the matter to rest.

19. ### Dan WilsonActive Member

Unless some new evidence comes to light I think it certainly does. It addresses the fibers and finds that the bacteria are consistent with infection. Really nothing left to make a case for a new pathogen at that point.

20. ### stars15kNew Member

I tried to explain the concept of hexagonal glitter to one of the "Truther Girls", and completely went over their head. They didn't seem able to see the waste produced by just about any other shape. I explained tessellation as best I could, what manufacturers call "flash" is money wasted, how it's clear plastic so only needs color applied to one side, how it is in and on just about everything, and stays where ever it lands. It was what got me banned from further comments and having all previous comments deleted. It was a good day!

Glitter also comes in square cut, which obviously tessellates just fine. Hexagons are probably used as the reduced angles means it bends less, so glitters more.

Related:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glitter
and in some areas of popular culture the inadvertent transfer of glitter is well known:
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=stripper glitter
aka stripper dust
http://www.comedycentral.com/video-clips/ilc4ez/comedy-central-presents-stripper-dust

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22. ### MichallNew Member

[...] I can, if you are interested, also prove my own evidence of my skin, which I'm sure about 110% of that is not out of the way. Material I was just not sure about .. I did not keep up, I keep only the material I'm sure of. Mostly only when I get out of the tub and I have my hands and my skin totally clean. There is no doubt, however, because I have clear pictures and videos, of fibers growing from the skin. Bolarias .. and then the hexagon. Mr. Mick, I'm definitely not a "stripper" and I'll give you $10,000$ if you find this "glitter" anywhere in your neighborhood. I've been looking for myself for over an hour. Not in any case, this can not be denied. It came from my body just after the bath. Moreover, I'm not alone, I'm not from the US, but people share the evidence totally identical.They complain about the same symptomes. Do you stand up honestly and admit that you were wrong? Or are we thinking anything worse?

Do you want to say this is a coincidence? Hallucinations or perhaps delusions?
This is a hexagon from my skin on my neck. I note that this is no more than an equal approach to this problem.

*Please excuse translation, I use translator.

Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2017
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23. ### deirdreModeratorStaff Member

after the bath? it could have come from bath products, or female nail polish, a female barrette, a female shirt with a glittery logo. Anything in the tub could get on you after a bath.

24. ### MichallNew Member

Are you serious ? Do you really think so? What about the CDC study? What about the other sick ones? What doctors who take it seriously? Are they all crazy? I do not have anyone in the family who uses make-up, or lacquers, or anything like that. As I say, I'd be happy if I was wrong. I'm still trying to convince myself that it's not the way I see it. But it's happening in my body, I can not lie to myself. I squeezed it from the sore on the skin on a neck . You really think I'm such a dumb fool. I would never lie, I do not want attention or glory. I want to live normally. Thanks to the Morgellons, I have live only in my room for some years now. You can not imagine what I had to deal with.

It's all over the world. The study confirmed this, I do not know what the debate about. Is this the case simply, or will you also question the CDC study?

Sooner or later the truth will turn out. It is your own good to reconsider the situation. I really do not want to argue with anyone. I do not want to hurt anyone. Not at all. I want justice, I want equal access, this will benefit all good people. Are you evil people? I believe you are not, but you behave like that. Please do not take it personally, I do not want to offend anyone. I just want to get you into a fair approach.

Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
25. ### deirdreModeratorStaff Member

Um, you're the one who said
you didn't say anything about squeezing it from a sore.

The only evidence you present here are examples that look exactly like glitter. I am only commenting on your evidence, not on the whole "Morgellons theory".

I'm evil for giving you suggestions of where the glitter you are showing might have come from? Ok.

26. ### jonnyHActive Member

Hi @Michall can you explain what the image above is showing?

And how big is the thing you say you popped out of a sore on your neck? It's hard to get an idea of scale from the picture.

27. ### LeiferSenior Member

None of us are suggesting this. We are being polite.
It is practical to consider the simple explanation first, then move on to more complicated explanations if this is needed.

I work in the Hollywood industry, as a painter. We use glitter often. My experience is that small glitter can stick to my skin. Sometimes a washing will not remove all the glitter from my skin. It can even stick to my clothes and shoes.
If you share a laundry washing machine with other people....and they washed a pretty shirt that had a glitter decoration..... some of that fine glitter will still remain in the laundry machine. Then then when you use that machine...your clothing will collect and contain and small amounts of glitter. You will probably not notice it, at all. Then it could stick to your skin. I have seen this.
Also, natural "mica" flakes are often found in ground dirt (terra firma). Mica is natural in many common rocks and soil....and is a flat mineral flake, resembling "glitter".
Also.... commercial potting soil often contains "vermiculite", which is also a flakey mica.

It's best to eliminate common sources first, then move on to more complicated sources.

Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
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28. ### cloudspotterSenior Member

We've just had our first music festival in our new tent. Anything that goes into that tent, including us, from now on is likely to end up with at least some glitter on it

29. ### Ray Von GeezerSenior Member

Appears to be various images PhotoShopped over a close-up of skin.

Eg. this one, from a Morgellons site:-

Ray Von

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30. ### TrailblazerModeratorStaff Member

I have a five-year-old daughter who is heavily into crafts, and sparkly princess stuff. I bet if you dusted our house you'd find it's a major Morgellons vector.

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33. ### RoryActive Member

Last edited: Jun 2, 2017
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36. ### tinkertailorActive Member

Two years ago, my family bought a cheap, small fake Christmas tree that came with ornaments.
Those ornaments were coated with glitter.
I'm the one who does all the household laundry and the sweeping and let me tell you, I found those glitter flakes years later, on the floor or clinging to my skin, on a sweater, on the cat, on the dog, once on some buttered pasta. No one in the house wears makeup that glitters like that or paints their nails. No crafts either.
There's a nickname for glitter: "The herpes of the art supplies". This is because, like the sexuality transmitted infection, it never ever goes away. A piece of glitter could be on the ground and when a person walks in their house and takes off their shoes, it gets on their skin. It's a stubborn medium to work with.

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